Top-Rated 2015 Hatchbacks, Wagons, and Vans: Performance and Design
By Christian Wardlaw, July 25, 2015
In order to measure how gratifying new-vehicle owners find their car, truck, SUV, and van selections, J.D. Power conducts the annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. Survey respondents have owned their new vehicle for at least 90 days and rate them based on their likes and dislikes with respect to styling, comfort, features, and performance.
Consumer-friendly Power Circle Ratings are calculated for each model from the APEAL data. J.D. Power publishes these ratings to help consumers who are researching new vehicles identify the models that most delight their owners.
Based on the results of the 2015 U.S. APEAL Study, listed below, in alphabetical order, are the most appealing hatchbacks, station wagons, and vans within their respective vehicle segments. Each receives a Power Circle Rating of 5 (out of a possible 5) for overall appeal.
2015 Audi A7
The most expensive and luxurious model on this list of the top-rated hatchbacks, wagons, and vans, the Audi A7 is a 5-door hatchback equipped with a supercharged V-6 or a turbodiesel V-6 engine. The available S7 model has a turbocharged V-8, while the performance-tuned RS 7 features a more powerful version of the S7's engine. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard for all A7 variants. A refreshed 2016 A7 lineup was on sale at the start of the summer of 2015.
2015 Chevrolet Sonic
Chevrolet added a 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection to the 2015 Sonic hatchback, and starting with vehicles that rolled off the assembly line after February 2015, the Sonic earns a "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Buyers can choose between LS, LT, LTZ, and RS versions of the car, the LTZ now equipped with a standard turbocharged engine from the sporty Sonic RS.
2015 Fiat 500
Fiat 500 owners find this little car appealing, according to the 2015 U.S. APEAL Study. It comes with a hardtop or convertible roof (500C) and in a number of trim levels and model series, including an electric version called the 500e and performance variants wearing an Abarth nameplate. For 2015, Fiat improves the 500 models' infotainment offerings, adds an optional automatic transmission for Abarth variants, and debuts special Ribelle and 1957 Edition versions of the car.
2015 Ford C-Max
The Ford C-Max is a 5-door hatchback available solely with a gas-electric hybrid drivetrain. The C-Max Energi variant features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, one that provides pure electric driving at all speeds and for a short distance. Ford made no changes to this model for 2015, except to introduce two new paint colors.
2015 Kia Sedona
Redesigned for 2015, the Kia Sedona is a minivan equipped with segment-exclusive features and functions. A 276-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 engine is standard, and the Sedona is offered in five different trim levels.
2015 Kia Soul
A 5-passenger, 5-door hatchback, the Kia Soul is one of the most appealing vehicles in its segment, according to those who own one. For 2015, Kia introduced a new electric version called the Soul EV, and debuted a next-generation version of its infotainment technology.
2015 Mini Cooper
This year, Mini expanded the Cooper Hardtop lineup by adding a 5-door version. Including the 3-door Hardtop, Convertible, Coupe, Clubman, and the Roadster, this brings the Mini Cooper lineup to six body styles, each offered with a broad variety of engines, colors, wheels, trims, and options that allows owners to tailor the car to their specific tastes.
2015 Toyota Prius V
Refreshed for 2015 and updated to earn better crash-test ratings, this largest version of the Prius family of hybrids has pleased owners, according to the results of the 2015 U.S. APEAL Study. Though it does not match the standard Prius for fuel efficiency, the Prius V does offer more space for cargo.
2015 Volkswagen Golf
Redesigned for 2015, the Volkswagen Golf is available in 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, and station wagon body styles. Golf buyers choose between a turbocharged gasoline or a 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, and select S, SE, or SEL trim. Sporty GTI, performance-tuned Golf R, and electric eGolf variants are also on sale.